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The Ultimate MC/MM phono stage, F-117, Nighthawk... - Page 12  

post #166 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdconnelly View Post
Gopher, I'll be interested to hear more about your comparison since I've got an EE Minimax Phono as well that has been very good to me. But this sounds very interesting at about half the price with a lot more flexibility.

Might just have to give it a try but am very interested in hearing your take after you've lived with it for a bit.
For you and anyone else interested I did a writeup here: http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f7/rev...-117-a-480462/

I directly compared it to the minimax.
post #167 of 210
Thread Starter 

Enjoy the Music Award winner, F-117, Nighthawk...

The F-117, Nighthawk has prooved it self that it can play with the big boys.
Read this please.
Ray Samuels

Ray Samuels F-117 Nighthawk MC/MM Phono Preamplifier A real game changer in phonostage preamplification. Review By Wayne Donnelly
post #168 of 210
Congratulations Ray! Excellent review for a product well developed
post #169 of 210
I posted some of this in my impressions thread, but now that I have upgraded my cartridge to a BENZ ACE RED L (instead of Ortofon Blue M2) I can hear a much bigger improvement using the Nighthawk. Prior to the BENZ I was hearing the Nighthawk open up with burn-in using the Granite Audio phono preamp burn-in CD, and it wasn't making much in the way of changes by the time I installed the new cart (maybe 150-200 hours total on F-117 by then).

The Ortofon cart had to have been a bottleneck before, as the differences between my cheap GEMsound preamp and the Nighthawk were very noticeable but not huge. But with the BENZ ACE RED there is so much more musical information being pulled off the vinyl and revealed by the Nighthawk, which the GEMsound preamp just doesn't present to me at all. And, the GEMsound is less dynamic and less involving to listen to, even though with the Ortofon it sounded identical to an NAD PP2 preamp I had for 3 weeks. Now with the new cart, it's like comparing a $99 portable amp to a $1200 desktop amp.

I kept saying before that I wasn't all that excited about the effort of cleaning LPs and flipping discs for the sound that I was getting, but at least now I have better idea just how much more information is on the vinyl that I was missing.

I was into vinyl from the mid 70's (actually 1974 with Ringo Starr's "You're Sixteen") to 1991 when my Harmon Kardon TT died. There was a 7 year overlap with owning CD's starting in 1984 when I got my first $800 Technics CDP when I graduated college (I won money in Vegas). So, I didn't bother to replace the dead TT because I liked the better signal to noise ratio and continuous 70 minutes of play with CDs. When the TT died I didn't have high enough resolution gear to appreciate the vinyl vs CD comparison, as my Quad ESL-57, MK Sub and Heathkit 250-watt amp were also gone, and I was driving Polk SDA CRS speakers with a 40 watt Kenwood (they really like a big room an a lot of power). With a Woo WES and Stax O2 Mk1 or HE60 (or ZDT with HD800) I am hearing every little detail.

I'm still unsure about how much I like cleaning LP's and flipping them over after 2-6 songs (depending on RPM and pressing). IF I hadn't also recently upgraded to a Perfectwave DAC which sounds beautiful with 24/96 hi-res downloads, I think the Nighthawk/BENZ combo would be on top vs my Digital Link III or mini-DAC, despite all the work involved to listen properly. I'm still afraid my TT rig will just be for show, or for showing off when I have someone over, and that it wont get used that much for actually enjoying my listening.

Regardless, Ray has a fantastic product here, which one must be aware is limited by the associated gear like cartridge, tonearm, turntable, interconnects, and vinyl - it seems to me that the better the cart or other gear is, the better the Nighthawk can show off what it is really capable of doing.
post #170 of 210
Way to go Ray!
post #171 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Samuels View Post
The F-117, Nighthawk has prooved it self that it can play with the big boys.
Read this please.
Ray Samuels

Ray Samuels F-117 Nighthawk MC/MM Phono Preamplifier A real game changer in phonostage preamplification. Review By Wayne Donnelly
Congratulations Ray, There are even upgrades for the XR-2, which I wasn't sure what I was going to do with.

Upgrades
Fortunately for owners of the XR-10B or the Emmeline XR-2 — an excellent single-ended phono preamplifier that I reviewed here a few years ago — the Ray Samuels is offering DIY upgrade kits for both products. They are available for $110, which includes USPS shipping, to customers in the USA;
post #172 of 210
Congrats Ray! Nice to see that most of the reviews seem to come to the same basic conclusion about the Nighthawk
post #173 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Samuels View Post
The F-117, Nighthawk has prooved it self that it can play with the big boys.
Read this please.
Ray Samuels

Ray Samuels F-117 Nighthawk MC/MM Phono Preamplifier A real game changer in phonostage preamplification. Review By Wayne Donnelly
Surely the most direct comparisons can be made with the Nagra BPS, though the nagra is four times the cost?

It looks exceptionally well put together!
post #174 of 210
In this day of throw away electronics and cheap components, it is refreshing to view a work like this. It is built like things used to be that were meant to last.
post #175 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamato8 View Post
In this day of throw away electronics and cheap components, it is refreshing to view a work like this. It is built like things used to be that were meant to last.

Has the introductory pricing period expired?
post #176 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Samuels View Post
The F-117, Nighthawk has prooved it self that it can play with the big boys.
Read this please.
Ray Samuels

Ray Samuels F-117 Nighthawk MC/MM Phono Preamplifier A real game changer in phonostage preamplification. Review By Wayne Donnelly
From the above article: "Price: Introductory $650 through April 30. $795 thereafter."

I hope the above is of help.
post #177 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamato8 View Post
In this day of throw away electronics and cheap components, it is refreshing to view a work like this. It is built like things used to be that were meant to last.
This does look like a great piece of equipment, however, I have some concerns about obsolescence with any device that uses a proprietary battery. I'm a photographer and have seen countless digital cameras come and go over the last decade, and it can be difficult, if not impossible, to find batteries for many of them. I also had to throw out a perfectly good cordless drill last year because I couldn't buy a replacement battery for it.

So how do I know I'll be able to buy batteries for the Nighthawk in 5, 10 or 15 years? I'd also like to know if the battery is user replaceable, and if the unit has an auto-shut off when it's not in use? If it doesn't, will the battery drain if the unit is left on, but no music is playing?

Thanks,

Andrew
post #178 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by arossphoto View Post
This does look like a great piece of equipment, however, I have some concerns about obsolescence with any device that uses a proprietary battery. I'm a photographer and have seen countless digital cameras come and go over the last decade, and it can be difficult, if not impossible, to find batteries for many of them. I also had to throw out a perfectly good cordless drill last year because I couldn't buy a replacement battery for it.

So how do I know I'll be able to buy batteries for the Nighthawk in 5, 10 or 15 years? I'd also like to know if the battery is user replaceable, and if the unit has an auto-shut off when it's not in use? If it doesn't, will the battery drain if the unit is left on, but no music is playing?

Thanks,

Andrew
I don't think the battery is user replaceable but the unit does have an on/off switch so you can shut the F-117 off when not in use. As to the battery drain, yes it continues to drain if the switch is left on. It runs down after about 48-50 hours. and then recharges in about 2-3 hours if memory serves me.
post #179 of 210
It takes mine about 1 hour 15 minutes to charge and will run 2 days if left on.
post #180 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audio Addict View Post
I don't think the battery is user replaceable...
Can anyone else confirm this please? This would probably be a deal breaker for me.
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